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Album of the month | Solomun - Nobody Is Not Loved

Mladen returns with a much-hyped second LP.

Artist: Solomun
Title: Nobody Is Not Loved
Label: NINL
Released: 28 May

Sounds like: A masterful producer consciously stepping away from the comfort zone of the club


Solomun

Eleven years have passed since the first Solomun album. As its name suggests, Dance, Baby's primary focus was the dance floor. Since then, the producer's stock has boomed, from humble beginnings in Hamburg to international superstar.

No place has been more of a catalyst for documenting that rise to dominance than Ibiza.

The beginning of Solomun's Ibiza journey at Sankeys

In summer 2012, Solomun and his merry band of Diynamic affiliates were the surprise success at Neon Nights at Sankeys. The party quickly grew a following and Tuesday night sell-outs became a running theme.

That same summer, Pacha's head was turned after a bundle of guest appearances for Defected. In the post season clear-out, a raft of big names departed longstanding residencies at the club. Solomun was signed to step into the Sunday night gap. At the time, it was seen as a bold move.

But Mladen adapted to this newfound stardom with ease.

The next summer, he juggled the unprecedented situation of holding down two residencies a week at rival venues. By 2015 we had seen enough to know that his long term future lay exclusively with Pacha.

Charles Turner Photography

Solomun guesting at Pacha for Defected in the summer of 2012

Over the next few years, Solomun established himself as the driving force at Pacha. Remix offers flooded in from Depeche Mode, Lana del Rey, Foals and more. The gigs kept getting bigger and the crowds with them.

Solomun became one of the most in-demand DJs on the planet, touring an insane amount with little downtime. The promise of a second album was put on the backburner. Then the pandemic struck and the diary cleared.

A considerably depleted party calendar allowed him to sit down and complete the album. And yet there were still delays. These processes take time and patience. One can only imagine how many push-backs the project would have faced under normal circumstances.


Nobody Is Not Loved

During this period, Solomun's sound morphed from 120-124 bpm indie dance, to faster, more progressive dance music. Would his signature change again for the second album, affectionately titled Nobody Is Not Loved?

Off the bat, is worth stressing that there isn't a singular sound that flows through the LP. It really is about the artist displaying his broad strokes. The second observation is that listeners shouldn't expect to feel satisfied on a single play.

Nobody Is Not Loved asks for patience, undivided attention and multiple listen throughs. The stand-out moments don't necessarily jump out at you, but like all good loves, reward comes through commitment.

This doesn't come without its frustrations.

Take Control is crying out for a drop that never arrives. Anne Clark's spoken word vocal feels like it is building towards something profound, only to peter out. A missed opportunity, we feel. Meanwhile, Tom Smith's heavily-vocoded voice on Night Travel also feels lacking an end goal.

So what do we like? The downtrodden keys at the start of Wadim before it ramps up, for starters.

Jamie Foxx collab, Ocean, opens the account and also happens to be the latest single. Here we have the merging of two worlds, resulting in a surprise harmonisation between stripped-back tech house and R&B ballad.

Vitally, the A-list featured artist never upstages Solomun at his own gig.

German language post-punk track Kreatur der Nacht feels influenced by industrial rockers Rammstein, with the stick-it-to-the-man insurgency of Rage Against The Machine. A mobilising anthem for disaffected degenerates to revolt against their oppressors to.

Undeniably catchy, yet Tuk Tuk split public opinion.

ÄTNA's loopy vocal fits a Major Lazer chart hit more than anything previously heard in Solomun's universe. We're fonder of her second appearance on Prospect. It gives us the same below skin jitters as deadmau5/Haley Gibby - I Remember.

Somewhat ashamedly, our favourite track feels a bit too obvious. We continuously find ourselves coming back to the rousing Home - the first track to be released and the most Solomun-sounding offering on the album.

If you didn't know better, you would be forgiven for thinking each track was by a different artist. Maybe even nonplussed to learn they all appear on the same album?

That said, it's easy to understand why these four tracks were chosen as singles. Not only do they display the range of the producer, but on reflection, they're also the strongest tracks on the album.

Although extended club mixes are in circulation, none of the album versions exceed 5 minutes in length - further evidence of Solomun straying from the dance floor.

Here's hoping for a club-orientated remix package from Solomun's friends and the Diynamic crew.

If you are infatuated by an artist, you love all of their output unconditionally. But if you really love an artist, to love their music blindly is not enough. Better to understand.

Highlights: The Centre Will Not Hold, Home, Kreatur der Nacht, Wadim

Nobody Is Not Loved is out now and available to stream and download at all the usual places.

To discover more music the Ibiza Spotlight team are enjoying right now, head over to our Spotify profile and click subscribe!


Other huge albums released this month:

Sasha | LUZoSCURA | Alkaane | 7 May
Skee Mask | Pool | Ilian Tape | 7 May
Terrence Dixon | Reporting From Detroit | Rush Hour | 14 May
Ronnie Spiteri | Reset & Restart | Tronic | 24 May
Argy | The Interior Journey | Renaissance Records | 28 May


HEAD HERE TO WATCH OUR 2019 INTERVIEW WITH SOLOMUN

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